For most brands, business volume tends to fluctuate seasonally. And this fluctuation can be more pronounced for some brands. Clothing retailers may experience demand spikes during the back-to-school season and the holidays. Jewelry retailers often experience increased sales around holidays, including Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. These fluctuations create challenges as well as unique opportunities.

Below I’ve captured some insights to help you plan for and maximize your paid search campaigns to capture seasonal business opportunities.

Use Historical Data to Identify Seasonal Trends

Brands that focus on services like landscaping, winter sports equipment, or accounting, are typically clear on how seasonality impacts demand. But for other companies, it’s not always apparent. Regardless, it’s a good idea to check your analytics and historical sales data from past years to uncover trends for specific weeks and months of the year when sales are unusually high or low. You can use that info to be proactive with your paid search optimization, so you can ensure you don’t miss out on key opportunities.

Make a Plan to Capitalize on Seasonal Upswings

Knowing when return on investment will be at its greatest gives you an opportunity to grow sales. Early planning is key, especially if you are dealing with budget limitations. Prior planning also gives you time to create impactful new campaigns and ads that fit the season ahead of time.

To start, you need a clear strategy that focuses on capturing consumer interest throughout each stage of the customer decision journey. Make sure you have content available on your website to capture interest and educate the consumer for each stage of the journey. Throughout the initiation, research, and comparison phases, consumers are likely to be conducting category searches as well as tangential searches. On the other hand, during the comparison and transaction phases, they are likely doing brand searches. Having relevant ads and content in place will improve your success rate.

From a campaign perspective, make sure that you are using long-tail keywords and directing consumers to relevant content. Here are a few more tips to help you optimize your campaigns:

  • Bid more aggressively to improve ad rank
  • Increase campaign budgets to allow for more reach and clicks
  • Refresh and update ad copy to stay relevant and stand out
  • Run and advertise discounts or sales

Make a Plan to Combat Seasonal Downturns

Capitalizing while return is high is the easier part of the plan. The real struggle arrives when you’re trying to make ends meet during the down season. Again, knowing when that downturn will start is crucial. Anticipating drops can help you make optimizations to your paid search account before you begin to lose money.

For most seasonal businesses, advertising during the down season can feel like a waste, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Positive ROI is still achievable using these tips:

  • Narrow keyword targeting
  • Lower bids for lower converting keywords
  • Reduce overall ad spend
  • Focus on campaigns with the highest conversion rate
  • Change the messaging in your ads
  • Adjust geo-targeting to spend in better-performing areas

It’s also a good idea to consider your landing pages — change the content and look of the pages to fit the season.

Take Advantage of Search Network Features

Search networks like Bing Ads have a variety of features that are ideal for businesses with seasonal shifts. Here are a few features that you can take advantage of:

  • Automated budget rules: Set up rules for campaigns to raise and lower budgets as demand and search volume change.
  • Automated bid rules: Set up rules to increase bids as click-through rates and average position change.
  • Ad schedule: Change ad schedules to match changing store hours or to help grow reach during busy periods.
  • Bid modifiers: Adjust device, location, and schedule modifiers to fit the shift in conversion rates.
  • Ad extensions: Update all ad extensions to fit the messaging and goals for new seasons.

By planning ahead and using available search network tools, seasonal businesses can increase revenue during the busy times as well as keep paid search profitable during the slower months. For even more insights, take some time to review The growth marketer’s guide to search.